The Philosophy of Financial Research Essay

13035 Words Oct 16th, 2015 53 Pages
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Research Method and Methodology in Finance and
Second Edition

Bob Ryan
Robert W. Scapens
Michael Theobold

Australia . Canada . Mexico . Singapore . Spain . United Kingdom . United States

Licensed to: iChapters User

Research Method and Methodology in Finance and Accounting
Copyright © Bob Ryan, Robert W. Scapens and Michael Theobold 2002

The text of this publication, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system, or otherwise, without prior permission of the
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In this chapter we examine some of the fundamental assumptions upon which research in the financial disciplines is based. These disciplines, like most others within the social sciences, are methodologically highly diverse. Scholars in these disciplines come from a variety of different backgrounds and sometimes make implicit but different methodological assumptions about the nature of reality, the role of theory and the significance of empirical experimentation.
Part of our task in this chapter is to make clear what those assumptions are and how they influence the research process. We start our discussions about research at a somewhat abstract level but, as we will demonstrate in later chapters, the issues we raise here condition much of what we have to say later about such questions as:
. What are the different assumptions about the nature of financial reality that

inform research?
. What is the role of theory in acquiring knowledge about financial and accounting

. How does research progress?

Given that research is fundamentally about the discovery, interpretation and communication of new knowledge there is still little agreement about the source of knowledge itself. The financial disciplines have, over the last 40 years, provided a new intellectual arena for some very old debates, and our purpose here is to discuss the range of issues and debates, which are of importance to the practising researcher.
To illustrate the

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